The Day – Norwich diocese receives extension until April to file bankruptcy plan



Norwich — A  federal bankruptcy court judge on Monday extended the deadline for the Diocese of Norwich to file its bankruptcy plan to April 15. The deadline had been Feb. 4.

After the plan is filed, it will be sent to the creditors of the Roman Catholic diocese for approval by June 14. During that 60-day period, the committee that represents a large group of people, who say they were sexually assaulted by priests and employees affiliated with the diocese, will discuss the proposed plan with the diocese.

All creditors of the diocese, including the victims of sexual assault, will vote whether to accept the plan.

Eric Henzy, one of the attorneys who represents the creditors’ committee, said Wednesday that it will not be known how many victims have filed claims with the diocese until March 15, the deadline for doing so. That number could reach 100 or more.

The diocese filed for chapter 7 v. chapter 13 bankruptcy in July as it faced more than 60 lawsuits filed by men who say they were sexually assaulted as boys by Christian Brothers and other staff at the diocese-run Mount Saint John Academy, a school for troubled boys, in Deep River from 1990 to 2002. Since then additional people, whose sexual assault allegations involved not only the school but diocesan churches, have filed claims in the bankruptcy case. New London attorney Kelly Reardon, whose firm has secured settlements in the past for victims of sexual assault by diocesan priests, said Wednesday that 20 of her firm’s clients have filed claims in the bankruptcy case.

The chapter 7 v. chapter 13 bankruptcy process, which freezes lawsuits against the diocese, will determine the assets of the diocese and how much each victim will receive in damages. The 51 parishes in the diocese are now looking to join the diocese in seeking bankruptcy protection from sexual abuse claims and will have to contribute funds to the settlement. This would leave victims unable to sue the parishes in the future.

Information on how to file a claim and on the bankruptcy case can be found at bit.ly/ndbclaims or by calling 1 (855) 654-0902.

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